Should allergen warnings for isinglass appear on food labels?

Food Standards Australia New Zealand has released details of a proposed change to the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code and has invited interested parties to provide information or comment. The item under consideration is the exemption of an allergen warning for isinglass.

Food standards (regulations) in the Food Standards Code cover the composition and content of food, information on food labels, approved chemical contaminant levels and food hygiene controls that must be complied with by food businesses.

Agencies in states and territories, and the New Zealand Food Safety Authority, enforce the food standards, which have the force of law. Heavy penalties can be applied to businesses that do not comply with the standards.

Submissions on the exemption of allergen warnings for isinglass should reach FSANZ by 12 November 2008.

Application AA490 — Draft Assessment – Exemption of allergen warning for isinglass

The Brewers Association of New Zealand has requested that FSANZ grant an exemption for isinglass from the mandatory declaration requirements for allergens in beer and wine. Isinglass is a permitted processing aid commonly derived from dried swim bladders of certain tropical and subtropical fish for use as a clarifying/fining agent.

FSANZ has concluded that isinglass-fined beer and wine does not raise any safety concerns for consumers allergic to fish or fish products and has recommended exempting isinglass from allergen declaration provisions of the Food Standards Code when present in beer and wine.

FSANZ welcomes public comment from industry, public health professionals, government agencies and consumers. Details of the applications above can be found on www.foodstandards.gov.au.

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